ATM help

Aug 3rd, 2003, 06:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13
ATM help

Hi everyone

I was wondering what brands of ATM cards you have brought to Europe. I have Fleet right now, but I'm going to Spain in the fall and plan to open another ATM account to use while there. Any preferences or suggestions?

Muchas Gracias
saramarie is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2003, 08:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,321
Any card that has Cirrus or Star should work. Generally, cards from Credit Unions do not work. Any Major Bank (B of A, Union, CITI) will work, but it is always good to double check by asking someone at your bank who has a brain. I checked with one of my banks and the clerk said, "oh yes, this card will work." WRONG! Luckily I had plenty of back up. AMEX will also give you a PIN if you think you might need it.
Calamari is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2003, 09:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 80
Here is my advice...ensure that you have two cards-both with four didget PINs. Keep one on your person, keep the other (standard bank card) in your hotel. Keep two credit cards and do nt keep both in your purse/wallet. I was pickpocketed in Naples but was fortunate to have back up credit cards and bank ATM cards. When you arrive, check that both work. You will find that many smaller hotels in Europe do either not take cash or charge a premium for credit. We payed cash. At the end of our stay we simply withdrew money. We always withdrew enough to keep us going for at least four/five days. Depending on your financial institution, they can really zing you for fees. You save money this way as well because you will get reasonably good exchange rates.
johnian is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2003, 10:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Look on the back of the card to see if it has one of the following symbols:


The assertion that most credit unions do not work is simply not true. Almost all banks today are allied with one of the shared teller networks indicated above.

When cards with these symbols don't work, it is generally a problem that something has damaged the magnetic strip or sometimes simply the time difference between your home and your destination as many banks take their systems off line to do maintenance.

It is a good idea to take more than one ATM card just in case.
xyz123 is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2003, 11:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Another reason your transaction may get rejected is simply due to timing. All banks have "overnight processing" during which you'll receive a message something like "your bank did not approve your transaction" or "your bank is not available at this time". If your bank conducts their overnight processing between, say, 2-4AM, and there's a six-hour time difference where you happen to be, and you attempt to withdraw funds between 8-10AM, your transaction will be rejected just because it cannot be electronically approved at that time. Often, banks perform more extensive "processing" early Sunday mornings, sometimes Saturday mornings.

So, if you happen to have a transaction rejected, just try later on in the day. Or, find out before leaving home when your bank goes into "overnight processing".

And, once in a while, the "network", either at your bank or MC/Visa or any of the international services (Cirrus, Plus, etc.) is simply "out of order" for a short time. And, sometimes, the international circuits are just busy.

Years ago, I have to say, I gave up on Fleet. For a number of reasons. My bank has just been "taken over" by Fleet prior to leaving home. We had just received brand new ATM/debit cards (separate accounts). Neither worked during our entire 10-day stay. Upon returning home, their only response was "Well, they should have worked." We've since switched banks and have never had a problem anywhere we've gone.
djkbooks is offline  
Aug 4th, 2003, 02:06 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,635
Calamari writes: "Generally, cards from Credit Unions do not work"

My reply to Calamari: Please don't give incorrect information in response to someone who is asking for help! Sure, you prefixed your reply with 'generally,' but that doesn't make your information any less 'bogus.'

I've travelled to Spain and Portugal about 10-times over the past 5-years and have almost exclusively used my Credit Union Visa Check Card on all those visits. It's Phila's Freedom CU (formerly Educational CU).
One advantage to using a Credit Union ATM card: There are no fees!

The only time an ATM Card wouldn't work for me was in '98 when Core States Bank was being taken over by First Union. I was assured by a Core States Officer that there would be no problem (and there may not have been any problem with those banks' ATM's), but apparently someone 'pulled the plug' on Core States codes early and I was left to find an alternate source of funds (in Ireland). With all the mergers and consolidations in the Banking Industry, maybe Credit Unions are the best way to go!

We just had another one: First Union was taken over by Wachovia. The same situation may have occurred with that but I was at home this time.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Aug 4th, 2003, 02:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
My ATM card is from a credit union and I had no problem using it in Italy recently. It does have the Plus and Cirrus symbols on the back, however, and is a Visa check card.

As others have suggested, be sure to get that four digit pin.
Statia is offline  
Aug 4th, 2003, 02:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 428
I know the Pentagon Federal Credit union card works all over that is how are Armed forces get there money world wide. Just check the symbols on the back.Make sure you test the new ATM card before you go ,Also make sure your money is in your CHECKING account not your savings account. and 4 digit pin # with numbers no letters or translate into numbers . Its hard to find letters on ATMs in Europe numbers only
Italiano is offline  
Aug 4th, 2003, 03:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13
Thanks so much for your advice!
saramarie is offline  
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